Fear of Transformation – Osho

Many people seem to be interested in meditation, but that interest cannot be very deep because so very few are transformed through it. If the interest is really deep, it becomes a fire by itself. It transforms you. Just through intense interest you start becoming different. A new center of being arises. So many people seem to be interested but nothing new arises in them, no new center is born, no new crystallization is achieved. They remain the same.

That means they are deceiving themselves. The deception is very subtle but it is bound to be there. If you go on taking medicine, having treatments, and the illness remains the same – rather on the contrary, it goes on increasing – then your medicine, your treatment, is bound to be false. Maybe deep down you don’t want to be transformed. That fear is very real – the fear of transformation. So on the surface you go on thinking that you are deeply interested, but deep down you go on deceiving.

The fear of transformation is just like the fear of death. It is a death, because the old will have to go and the new will come into being. You will be there no more, something totally unknown to you will be born out of you. Unless you are ready to die, your interest in meditation is false, because only those who are ready to die will be reborn. The new cannot become a continuity with the old. The old must be discontinued. The old must go. Only then can the new come into being. The new is not an outgrowth of the old, the new is not continuous with it – the new is totally new. And it comes only when the old dies. There is a gap between the old and the new – that gap gives you the fear. You are afraid. You want to be transformed but simultaneously you want to remain the old. This is the deception. You want to grow, but you want to remain you. Then growth is impossible; then you can only deceive; then you can go on thinking and dreaming that something is happening, but nothing will happen because the basic point has been missed.

So there are many people all over the world who are very interested in meditation, moksha, nirvana, and nothing is happening. There is so much noise about it but nothing real is happening. What is the matter?

Sometimes the mind is so cunning that because you don’t want to be transformed, the mind will create a superficial interest so that you can say to yourself, “You are interested, you are doing whatsoever can be done.” And you remain the same. And if nothing happens, you think that the technique you are using is wrong, the guru you are following is wrong, the scripture, the principle, the method, is wrong. You never think that even with a wrong method transformation is possible if the real interest is there; even with a wrong method you will be transformed. If you are really interested in transformation, you will become different even if following a wrong guru. If your soul and your heart is in your effort, no one can mislead you except yourself. And nothing is a barrier to your progress except your own deceptions.

When I say that even a wrong master, a wrong method, a wrong principle, can lead you to the real, I mean that the real transformation happens when you are intensely involved in it, not through any method. The method is just a device, the method is just a help, the method is secondary – your being involved in it is the fundamental thing. But you go on doing something – not even doing, you go on talking about doing. And words create an illusion: because you think so much about it, you read so much about it, you listen so much about it, that you start feeling you are doing something. So-called religious persons have developed many deception devices.

I have heard that a motorist, driving along a road, saw the school building on fire. The teacher of the small school of that small village was Mulla Nasruddin. He was sitting under a tree. The motorist called to him, “What are you doing there? The school building is on fire!” Mulla Nasruddin said, “I know about it.” The motorist was much excited. He said, “Then why are you not doing something?” Mulla Nasruddin said, “Ever since it started I have been praying for rain. I am doing something.”

Prayer is a trick to avoid meditation, and the so-called religious mind has developed many types of prayer. Prayer can also become a meditation – when it is not only a prayer, it is a deep effort, a deep involvement. Prayer can also become meditation, but ordinarily prayer is just an escape. To avoid meditation, people go on praying. To avoid doing anything they pray. Prayer means that God must do something. Someone else must do. Prayer means that we are passive – something must be done to us. Meditation is not prayer in that sense: meditation is something you do to yourself. And when you are transformed, the whole universe behaves differently to you, because the universe is nothing but a response to you, whatsoever you are. If you are silent, the whole universe responds to your silence in thousands and thousands of ways. It reflects you. Your silence is multiplied infinitely. If you are blissful, the whole universe rejects your bliss. If you are in misery, the same happens. The mathematics remains the same, the law remains the same: the universe goes on multiplying your misery. Prayer won’t do. Only meditation can help because meditation is something to be done authentically by you, it is a doing on your part.

So the first thing I would like to say to you is be constantly alert that you are not deceiving yourself. You may be doing something and still deceiving yourself.

I have heard that Mulla Nasruddin once came running into a post office, grasping the postmaster by the lapel, shook him, and said, “I have gone crazy. My wife has disappeared!” The postmaster felt sorry and he said, “Really, she has disappeared? Unfortunately this is a postal department – you have to go to the police department to report this disappearance.” Mulla Nasruddin shook his head negatively and said, “I am not going to be caught again. In the past my wife also disappeared and when I reported it to the police department, they found her. I am not going to be caught again. If you can take the report, take it, otherwise I am going.”

He wants to report to feel good, to feel that he has done whatsoever can be done. But he doesn’t want to report to the police department because he is afraid.

You go on doing things just to feel good, just to feel that you are doing something. But really you are not ready to be transformed. So all that you do just passes as useless activity – not only useless, harmful also, because it is a wastage of time, energy, and opportunity. These techniques of Shiva are only for those who are ready to do. You can ponder over them philosophically – that means nothing. But if you are actually ready to do, then something will start happening to you. They are alive methods, not dead doctrines. Your intellect is not needed; your totality of being is required. And any method will do. If you are ready to give it a chance, any method will do. You will become a new man.

Methods are devices, I will repeat again. If you are ready, then any method can do. They are just tricks to help you to take the jump, they are just like jumping boards. From any jumping board you can jump into the ocean. The jumping boards are insignificant: what color they are, which wood they are made of is irrelevant. They are simply jumping boards and you can take a jump from them. All these methods are jumping boards. Whatsoever method takes your fancy, don’t go on thinking about it, do it!

Difficulties will arise when you start doing something – if you don’t do anything there will be no difficulty. Thinking is very easy doing because you are not really traveling, but when you start doing something, difficulties arise. So if you see that difficulties have arisen, you can feel that you are on the right track – something is happening to you. Then old barriers will break, old habits will go, there will be change, there will be disturbance and chaos. All creativity comes out of chaos. You will be created anew only if all that you are becomes chaotic. So these methods will destroy you first, then only will a new being be created. If there are difficulties, feel fortunate – that shows growth. No growth is smooth… and spiritual growth cannot be smooth, that is not its nature. Because spiritual growth means growing upwards, spiritual growth means reaching into the unknown, reaching into the uncharted. Difficulties will be there. But remember that with each difficulty that is passed you are crystalized. You become more solid. You become more real. For the first time you will feel something centering within you, something becoming solid.

As you are now you are just a liquid phenomenon, changing every moment, nothing stable. Really you cannot claim any ‘I’ – you don’t have one. You are many ‘I’s’ just in a flow, a river-like flow. You are a crowd, not an individual yet. But meditation can make you an individual.

 This word ‘individual’ is beautiful: it means indivisible. Right now as you are, you are divided. You are only many fragments clinging together anyhow without any center being there, without any master in the house, with only servants. And for a moment any servant can become the master.

Every moment you are different because you are not – and unless you are, the Divine cannot happen to you. To whom can it happen? You are not there. People come to me and they say, “We would like to see God.” I ask them, “Who will see? You are not there. God is always there, but you are not there to see. It is just a passing thought that you want to see God.” The next moment they are not interested; the next moment they have forgotten all about it. A persistent, intense effort and longing is needed. Then any method will do.

Now, we should enter the methods.

-Osho

From The Book of Secrets, Chapter 73

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

To Work for Our Own Salvation – Vimala Thakar

Question:

You seem to be very optimistic about the development of the human mind, and yet the world has not changed in spite of Buddha and Christ?

Vimala:

The world has changed due to Buddha and Christ, in spite of the churches and in spite of the Buddhist organizations. When one is intimately and directly involved with life, related to life, there is no scope for forming an attitude towards life. Optimism is an attitude towards life, it is an approach to life which connects you with life indirectly. You do not need any optimism, pessimism, enthusiasm, or indifference towards life, when at every moment of your waking consciousness you are already in the stream itself, in the movement of life itself. Those who are afraid to swim stand on the banks of the river of life, of the river of relationships, and measure the depth, speed, momentum, coolness,  hotness, etc. of the water. But, one who plunges into life does not require any measurements at all, any attitudes, any approaches.

Could it be that the world did not change in spite of Buddha and Christ, because the human mind was in the habit of looking for a saviour, waiting for someone to work for their redemption? When you wait for a saviour to save you, to work for your redemption and set you free of your sins, you become a passive consumer of ideas, of doctrines, of theories. You accept their authority; you swallow their words without digesting them. I think the spiritual consumerism that the human race has lived by through untold centuries, accepting authority, imitating words, waiting to be saved, has caused a psychic lethargy, a psychic laziness and passivity. Now we have seen that we cannot be saved that way. We have to work for our own salvation, for our own liberation or enlightenment. Psychic or spiritual acceptance of authority has lost its relevance. That is one factor in our favour, it has created a compulsion to exercise our brains, to exercise our sensitivity, and understand life.

Secondly, it seems to me that in the East as well as in the West it was considered necessary to retire from life, to withdraw from responsibilities, withdraw from relationships, in order to live a religious life. You joined an order of monks or nuns, you became a renunciate or a disciple, and then you enquired about the meaning of life, the mystery of godhood, the secret of eternity. It was done in isolation. Every culture, every society, maintained a class of religious teachers, preachers and enquirers, and looked after them, just as you maintain an army, a militia, to save you from foreign invasion. People used to join religious orders and the rest of the society was happy to pay a weekly, or a bi-weekly visit to a temple, church, or mosque, feeling assured that they were going to be saved. This enquiry, this exploration of the divinity in isolation has become irrelevant.

We are talking about self-discovery that takes place in the midst of relationships. Do you see the change? First, no authority of individuals, one has to become one’s own saviour or redeemer. And secondly, the enquiry, the exploration, the experimentation has to be conducted in the midst of relationships, where you are, in your own home, family situation, job situation, political life, economic life. Relationships are the occasions for self-discovery. They are the occasions for the exploration of peace and love and freedom.

Thirdly, it seems to me that at the end of the twentieth century, mankind has discovered that there is nothing like an individual mind, an individual ego, an individual self or me, for whose liberation one has to work. This psychological myth has been exploded in the second half of this century. It has been discovered and accepted by the human race that there is one global human consciousness, which has been conditioned in various ways.

The movement of the mind is the movement of the conditioned neurochemical system in the body. Conditionings are fed into the human organism with the help of words, ideas, symbols and measurements, they are all imprinted on the human organism. And the mental movement is nothing but a replay of these conditionings. So the fear of mind and mental movement is disappearing from the human consciousness. The global human consciousness realizes the built-in limitations of the mechanism and anatomy of the mind, and is learning to handle this neurochemical conditioned energy in a competent way.

I think the invention of the electronic brain, the computer, the calculator, has helped the human race. Science and technology have confronted us with a new context, that was not available in the days of Buddha, Christ, Rama, or Krishna. The repetitive mechanistic nature of the mental movement has been exposed and it feels so childish to worship the movement of mind, to worship its reactions, to make a big fuss about its anxieties, worries and brooding, which are just cerebral habit patterns, neurochemical habit patterns.

So whether the world has changed or not due to Buddha or Christ, the world is changing now, right before our eyes. It is not a political or an economic change, but the quality of the human consciousness is changing rapidly.

The friend who is talking to you has wandered over the globe for the last thirty years; she has seen how the young are free from hypocrisy and pretensions. They are more honest with themselves and others, they are not so tortured by the fear of what others may say.

We are living in a transitory period of human culture, the old norms, criteria and values have collapsed and the new ones have not yet emerged. The youth all over the world are struggling to form a new ethos for the nuclear age. Having seen how thought is nothing but memory, how mental movement is nothing but a conditioned energy contained in the neurochemical system, the human race has no time to waste on pampering and worshiping the movement of mind and thought. It will learn to use it in its relevant field of action. This it has to do choicelessly, there is no alternative.

Have you seen the intermingling of races and cultures taking place, due to jet aircraft? People now travel from one end of the globe to the other. This intermingling of races, cultures, religions and temperaments, due to the economic interweaving and intertwining of the trends of life, of political interaction, has loosened the grip of identification with a nation, a race or a religion. Without our conscious effort to do so, we are no longer in the grip of those ideas. We look upon ourselves as global human citizens.

I do not know if you have noticed the emergence of a planetary consciousness? This consciousness has not yet found a language to express itself in an organized systematic way, but it is manifesting itself in a hundred and one different ways in every part of the globe. There seem to be particular efforts conducted by youth groups, not connected with one another, indicating that a change in the quality of human consciousness is taking place due to the compulsions that the human race has created for itself through science, technology, means of transport and communication, the electronic media and so on.

The events that took place in the Middle East one year ago, would have exploded into a world war twenty-five years ago. Even the events taking place in the Soviet Union would have exploded into a huge civil war, chaos and anarchy. Have you not noticed the intervention of the United Nations Security Council? What is this concern? To avoid nuclear explosions? What is this environmental consciousness doing? Yes, there are signs of growing neurosis, violence, terrorism and militancy; these are the remnants of the decaying civilization, the hangovers which are going to be extinguished under their own burden and weight.

I only wanted to say that the relationship with spirituality, the methodologies of self-discovery have changed. You don’t need a Christ or a Buddha any more, it is the human beings themselves who, with their individual and collective initiatives, in utter freedom, are going to find out what is beyond thought, beyond time and space, and live related to them in an unprecedented way.

-Vimala Thakar

From Life As Teacher, pp. 83-89

Here you can see more from Vimala Thakar

Don’t Abandon Existence – Osho

Is it not necessary to desire, to long and to seek truth and avoid the untrue, to seek truth ad renounce the false?

Divyananda, there is no way to seek truth because truth is not far away. Truth is not “there” somewhere so that you have to go to it, so that you have to reach to it; truth is not to be sought because truth is the very being of the seeker. How can you seek the seeker? How can you know the knower? That is impossible. You cannot encounter yourself. You are the truth.

Hence all seeking is futile, but one learns only through seeking. One learns this tremendously important fact, that all seeking is useless, only through seeking; there is no other way to learn it. You seek and you fail, you seek again and you fail; slowly slowly it becomes clear to you that seeking itself is the cause of missing it. Then seeking drops of its own accord. And when there is no longing, no desire, when you are utterly silent, when the very mind of the achiever has disappeared, you are surprised that what you have been seeking all along has always been with you.

Yoka says:

It is not necessary to look for truth or avoid illusion.

Why? – because to look for it is to begin in a wrong direction and to avoid illusion is foolish because illusion means that which is not. How can you avoid that which is not and how can you seek that which is? That which is is, and that which is not is not.

Yoka also says:

We know that both are comprised in emptiness, that they have no form and bounds. Non-form is neither empty nor non-empty. It is the true reality of Buddha.

One has simply to become utterly empty. And when I say “utterly empty” I mean one has not to be just empty “utterly empty” means empty of everything and also empty of emptiness. Otherwise the mind is so cunning it can now cling to a new idea of emptiness.

A disciple of Yoka was coming again and again to him, bringing his experiences that were happening in his deep meditation, and Yoka was hitting him. Whatsoever he said he would be hit, irrespective of what he was saying. He was bringing beautiful experiences: the rising of the kundalini, a great experience of light, a beautiful inner fragrance, the sound of one hand clapping – whatsoever he had heard that people had achieved through meditation he was bringing – but he was being hit again and again.

One day he came with absolute trust: “Now the Master is going to accept my experience, to recognize it – the time has come,” because that day he was going to say, “I have achieved emptiness.”

That is the ultimate. What more can there be? What can there be beyond emptiness? He was very happy that for the first time he was not going to be hit – but even before he had spoken, the Master hit him.

He said, “This is too much! I have not even uttered a single word!”

Yoka said, “It doesn’t matter what you say, it does not matter whether you say it or not – I know. I knew the moment you entered in the room that you were again here with some foolish idea.”

He said, “But sir, you should have listened. This is not a foolish idea; this is the experience of all the Buddhas!”

So Yoka said, “Yes, so you say. It seems you are hankering for another hit!”

And the disciple said, “Sir, I have experienced emptiness!”

Yoka laughed, hit him and said, “Throw it away! It is all nonsense!”

The disciple said, “How can I throw emptiness? I can throw everything else!” That was the first time that he argued with the Master; obviously, his argument seems to be logical. You can throw the experience of light because you are the experiencer. You can throw the experience of energy – you are the experiencer. Any experience can be thrown, but how can you throw the experience of emptiness? There is nothing to throw!

The disciple said, “How can I throw emptiness?”

Then the Master hit him hard and said, “Then carry it out – but do something. Either throw it or carry it out.”

And the disciple said, “What are you asking me? I cannot carry it out because it is just empty, and I cannot throw it either.”

The Master said, “Now you are clinging to the idea of emptiness. This is not emptiness – this is not true emptiness. Now you are full of the idea of emptiness. Once it was light, once it was energy, once it was fragrance now it is emptiness. It is nothing but labels changing. And unless you throw this too you will not be truly empty. A truly empty person is neither empty nor nonempty. There is nothing to experience, not even emptiness. And in that state of silence when there is nothing to experience – no object, no content, but only consciousness, only the observer and nothing to observe only the seer and nothing to see – one attains truth.”

Yoka says:

Our spirit is like a clear mirror thus it reflects the universe harmoniously. Our spirit and the universe are one.

Once you are utterly empty you are a mirror. You are not only aware of your inner truth; you become aware of the truth of the whole existence. And they are not two; they are two aspects of the same phenomenon, two sides of the same coin – the outer and the inner.

All manner of troubles arise if we abandon existence to obtain emptiness; that too is sickness.

Listen to these tremendously significant words of Yoka. Yoka is one of the great Zen Masters. He says: 

All manner of troubles arise if we abandon existence to obtain emptiness; that too is sickness. It is like throwing oneself into the fire to escape drowning. 

Don’t abandon existence. Don’t abandon the ordinary existence in any effort for some illusory truth, for some illusory longing for God. Leave that for the fools. The intelligent person simply lives moment to moment with no desire to seek anything, with no expectation of finding anything. He simply lives moment to moment, joyously. His life is very ordinary; he has no desire to be extraordinary. He has no desire to be a Buddha, hence he is a Buddha. He has no desire to be extraordinary, hence he is extraordinary. Because every ordinary person has the desire to be extraordinary; only extraordinary people don’t have that desire.

If we try to grasp truth or if we wish to escape error and illusion, we practice discrimination, an artificial and erroneous attitude.

Once you say, “This is truth and that is untruth,” you have started discriminating – and to discriminate is the disease of the mind. That is the function of the mind: to discriminate. “This is right, that is wrong. This is true, that is false. This is worldly, that is spiritual. This is materialist, that is religious.” Once you start discriminating there is no end to it and you are in the grip of the mind. Drop discriminating and you are out of the grip of the mind. To be out of the grip of the mind is to be free, is to know what freedom is.

Most men forget spirit treasure, they have to recourse to dualist thinking and abandon the true nature of spirit. To pass the barrier of Zen by means of zazen, we should finish with reason, knowledge, illusion. Then we shall attain to supreme wisdom and enter into the palace of nirvana.

Nirvana is not somewhere else; it is your inner space. Just get out of the clutches of the mind. Your mind is like an octopus: if somehow you get free of one of the legs of the octopus, there are other legs. There are gross legs and there are subtle legs, and by the time you start getting free of the other legs you are getting entangled into other legs. It goes on and on in circles.

The man who escapes from the world, what is he saying? In the East for thousands of years people have been renouncing the world because they say it is illusion. If you truly understand that it is illusion, then what is there to renounce?

These fools even come to me and they ask, “What kind of sannyas are you teaching people? Sannyas means renunciation. They should leave the world, but they live in the world. Not only do they live in the world, they live more deeply and totally in the world than other worldly people! What kind of sannyas is this?” They think I am teaching a wrong kind of sannyas.

I am teaching the ultimate sannyas, not a wrong kind but for the first time the right kind. The wrong kind has prevailed for a long time, for centuries. See the stupidity of the whole thing: you call something illusory and then you escape from it. If it is illusory there is no need to escape. It should be so simple! If it is real then why escape? If it is real then how can you escape?

Nobody renounces their dreams. Or do you renounce them every morning when you wake up – “I renounce all my dreams. I renounce all the treasures that I had in my dreams. I renounce the kingdom of my dreams”? You don’t renounce them, otherwise people would laugh at you – you have gone mad! Dreams are dreams.

And these so-called spiritual people have been telling the world that the world is a dream – renounce it. What nerve – to call it a dream and in the same breath to say, “Renounce it”! Either it is not a dream or it is a dream – make sure what it is. And either way you cannot renounce it. If it is a dream there is no point in renouncing; if it is a reality, how can you renounce reality? – Because reality is synonymous with God.

Hence I teach: Rejoice! There is no need to renounce anything – there is nothing to be renounced. Rejoice, and rejoice more totally! Rejoice in a multi-dimensional way. Dance, sing, be blissful. Let laughter be your life, let love be your life. That is the only true way to know what is.

-Osho

From Walking in Zen, Sitting in Zen, Chapter 14

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

Darkness Has Its Own Joy – Osho

Sometimes running here and there, talking, laughing, working, reading, writing and cleaning – The fact is: When the door closes behind and the eyes are shut – it is dark.

Thoughts or no thoughts, feelings or no feelings it is dark. Morning or night any time inside it is dark. Looking inside for the looker it is dark. Is ‘I’ darkness? Who is writing this question? 

Yes, Prasad, ‘I’ is darkness, the ego is darkness, and if you look within and the looker is there, it will remain dark. Morning or evening won’t make any difference, thoughts or no thoughts won’t make any difference, because the ‘I’ itself is the essential thought, the fundamental thought – the looker.

It contains all thoughts and all feelings. You can look, but you have already divided yourself in two: the looker and the looked-upon. And this division is darkness, this duality is darkness, this split is darkness.

Oneness is luminous, oneness is light; twoness is darkness.

So, whenever a meditator goes in, first he always encounters darkness, and that darkness is frightening – who wants to go into that darkness? One becomes afraid, one wants to escape from it. In the beginning it is always so, but if you go on and go on and go on, and you stop even asking for light… Why should you ask? If it is dark, it is dark. And darkness is perfectly right – and when darkness is perfectly right, darkness is absolutely bright.

Accept it. Love it. Embrace it. Feel one with it. And the moment the split disappears, when there is no looker and the looked-upon, no observer and the observed, then suddenly there will be light – and a light which needs no fuel, a light which is eternal.

But if you are divided, then that light won’t happen to you.

So, what is to be done? You have to love this darkness, you have to fall into this darkness and disappear. Don’t search for the light. The search for the light will keep you distant, unloving, unavailable to the darkness, and that will be a barrier to light. Don’t search for light. If it is dark, it is dark. This is what Buddha calls tathata. If it is dark, it is dark; don’t ask for something else, let it be dark, enjoy it. What is wrong with darkness?

But we are conditioned in such a way that we cannot enjoy a few things. We have been brought up in such a way that we can enjoy only light, not darkness. Now this is missing something tremendously beautiful and something tremendously alive.

Darkness has its own joy, light has its own joy, and the person who understands will enjoy both. And he will not create any conflict and he will not choose. Darkness has silence in it, which no light can ever have. Darkness has a stillness in it, utter stillness, which no light can ever have. And darkness has infinity: unbounded it is, it knows no boundaries. Light has always boundaries to it: it is never infinite, it is finite. Light comes and goes; darkness abides, darkness is eternal.

It is because of this experience that in India we have painted Krishna as dark – his other name, shyam, means dark, ‘the black one’.

Darkness has depth. Whiteness is shallow, whiteness always looks superficial. Start enjoying darkness. Feel its infinity, feel its spaciousness, feel its eternity. Be touched by it and be moved by it – it is so velvety, it has a beauty of its own. And unless you are capable of loving darkness, you have not earned the right to know light.

The light that you know is the outside light; it is against darkness. And the light that you will know when you transcend inner darkness will not be against darkness, it will contain all that darkness has – and something more, and plus. Remember it: the light outside is not the true light; the true light will have all the qualities of this light and all the qualities of this darkness and still will be more than the sum total of both of them. It is a great splendour where dualities meet and merge into each other, where dualities pour all their beauties into each other and a new beauty arises: the beauty of unity, integration.

So, remember it: whatsoever you know about light and darkness – both have to be left behind. When you close your eyes, you have left the light outside; now you enter darkness. Love it. Sing a song with it. Have a dance with it. Don’t fight with it, don’t be afraid of it, don’t keep a distance from it. And don’t go on looking for light. Forget about light. This darkness is there – it has to be enjoyed; one has to be grateful to God for this darkness, this silence, this stillness, this velvety expanse. And then, one day, the observer and the observed are no more two.

When you love something, the duality disappears. If you love darkness, you become darkness. And when there is no duality, there comes a luminousness of a totally different quality. It is not the light that comes from the sun, and it is not the light that comes from electricity, and it is not the light that comes from the moon; then you have come to the very source of all light and all darkness, then you have come to the very root, the very ground, of being.

It is beautiful that the darkness is arising in you. You have taken a great step. Now, don’t go on fighting with it; otherwise, the next step will be hindered.

That’s what I was saying the other day: if the myth of Sisyphus were written by a Zen Master, it would have been totally different – the gods would have been defeated. You cannot punish a Zen Master. Sisyphus would have enjoyed, would have danced, would have been ecstatic, because there is no goal, so there is no failure. When the rock starts slipping back towards the valley, he would have listened to the sound echoing, re-echoing, in the valleys. He would have enjoyed it, and he would have started the downward journey with great joy because he knows the beauties of the valley too. Yes, there are beauties of the hilltop, the sunlit hilltop, and the openness of the sky, but there are beauties of the valley too: the shelter, the security, the beautiful birds, and the rivers, and the friends, and the pub. Sisyphus would have come back dancing from the hill, thinking of the pub and the friends and the beloved. And his children must have been waiting, and his woman – and it was time. And he would have had a beautiful, restful night, and in the morning he would have begun again: he would have taken the rock back to the top, another day, another challenge. Another day, another adventure, and in the morning he would have started again, whistling a song. The story would have been totally different.

The Greeks could not envision it; the logical mind cannot envision it, an illogical mind is needed to envision that beauty. Yes, when you go in and there is darkness, don’t become the Greek Sisyphus, remember what I am telling you. Love the darkness: it is a gift. All is a gift from God. Feel grateful to God that he has given you such a beautiful darkness of your own – so virgin, so pure, uncontaminated. Relax into it, and as you relax, it disappears. When you have relaxed totally, it is no more found. Then you have arrived at the very source of all darkness and all light, but that source has a totally different quality of light. It is not this light – it has something of it. It is not this darkness – it has something of it, but it is immensely vast. That’s why the mystics have always felt it difficult to say what it is.

Ineffable it is, inexpressible it is, and indefinable it is.

But, Prasad, you have taken a great step; going into darkness is a great step. Zen people call it ‘the great doubt’, and the Christian mystics call it ‘the dark night of the soul’. But the morning is just arriving, just following. The dark night of the soul has the morning following just on the heels of it, just following like a shadow. Don’t be too worried about the darkness, don’t become too obsessed by it; otherwise, you will miss the morning that is following it – and is just coming on the heels.

This is the way to look at life, and then thorns are no more thorns; they also have a beauty of their own. Then the cactus is as beautiful as any rose. And your heart expands when you can see the beauty of a thorn. To see the beauty of a rose is not much – anybody can see it; nothing is required of you. The rose is so obviously there – even a stupid person can see the beauty of it. But to see the beauty of the thorn great intelligence is needed, much is required of you; it is a challenge. Unless you have found beauty everywhere, you will not find God. Unless you are at home everywhere, you will never be at home.

So, in darkness, be at home. Whatsoever arises in you has to be accepted with joy as a gift. And I know it is difficult sometimes to think that this is a gift when you are ill, when it is all dark, when you are miserable, when love is broken. How can you see the beauty of it when a beloved dies? Death has happened – it is difficult to see the beauty. That only shows that you have a very, very narrow definition of beauty, that you have imposed some definition on reality. Drop that imposition. Let reality be freed.

Just the other day I was reading about a Hassid mystic, Zusia. He is one of the most beautiful Hassid mystics. He was going into the hills, and he saw many birds, caught by a man, in a cage. Zusia opened the cage – because birds are meant to fly – and all the birds flew away. And the main man came rushing out of his house and he said ‘What have you done?’ And Zusia said ‘Birds are meant to fly. Look how beautiful they look on the wing!’ But the man thought otherwise; he gave Zusia a good beating. His whole day’s work had been destroyed, and he had been hoping to go to the market and sell the birds, and there were many many things to be done – and now Zusia had destroyed the whole thing. He gave him a really good beating, but Zusia was laughing, and Zusia was enjoying – and he was beating him! Then he thought this man must be mad. And Zusia started moving.

When the man had finished, Zusia asked ‘Have you done it, or would you like to do a little more? Are you finished? Because now I have to go.’ The man could not answer. What to answer? This man was simply mad! And Zusia started singing a song. He was very happy – happy that the birds were flying in the sky and happy that he was beaten and yet it didn’t hurt, happy that he could receive it as a gift, happy that he could still thank God. There was no complaint. Now, he had transformed the whole quality of the situation.

This has to be learned. Slowly, slowly a man has to become so wide that all is accepted, yes, even death, only then the song bursts forth. Yes, even the darkness, only then the light arrives. The moment you have accepted the night totally and there is no seeking and hankering for the morning, the morning has come. This is how it comes, this is the way of its coming.

-Osho

From The Sun Rises in the Evening, Chapter Six

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

 

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

What is this You in Yourself? – Osho

So we have to understand what meditation is.

Gautam Buddha, the founder of Zen, the founder of all great meditative techniques in the world, defines it in one word. Somebody asked him one day, ‘Bhagwan, what is meditation? What is it all about?’ And Gautam Buddha said a single word, he said: Halt! That was his definition of meditation. He says, “If it halts, it is meditation.” The full sentence is: “The mad mind does not halt. If it halts, it is meditation.”

“The mad mind does not halt. If it halts, it is meditation.” Meditation is a state of thoughtless awareness: Meditation is a state of non-emotional, non-sentimental, non-thinking awareness. When you are simply aware, when you become a pillar of awareness. When you are simply awakened, alert, attentive. When you are just a pure awareness.

How to enter into it? The Zen people have a special word for the entry, they call it hua t’ou. This Chinese word means ante-thought, or ante-word. The mind, before it is stirred by a thought, is called hua t’ou. Between two thoughts there is a gap, that gap is called hua t’ou.

Watch. One thought passes on the screen of your mind – on the radar screen of your mind one thought passes like a cloud. First it is vague – it is coming, it is coming – then it is there suddenly on the screen. Then it is moving, then it has gone out of the screen, again it becomes vague and disappears… another thought comes. Between these two thoughts there is a gap – for a single moment or a split second the screen is without any thought.

That state of pure no-thought is called hua t’ou – ante-words, ante-thought, before the mind is stirred. Because we are not alert inside, that’s why we go on missing it – otherwise meditation is happening each moment. You have just to see it happening, you  have just to become aware what treasure you are carrying always within you. It is not that meditation has to be brought from somewhere else. The meditation is there, the seed is there. You have just to recognize it, nurture it, take care of it, and it starts growing.

The interval between two thoughts is hua t’ou. And that is the door to enter into meditation. hua t’ou – the word literally means ‘word head’. ’Word’ is a spoken word, and ‘head’ is that which precedes the word. hua t’ou is the moment before a thought arises. As soon as a thought arises it becomes a hua weihua wei literally means ‘word tail’. And then when the thought has gone or the word has gone and there is a gap again, it is again hua t’ou. Meditation is looking into this hua t’ou.

“One should not be afraid of rising thoughts,” says Buddha, “but only of the delay in being aware of them.” This is a tremendously new approach towards the mind, never attempted before Buddha. Buddha says one should not be afraid of rising thoughts. One should only be afraid of one thing – of not being aware of them, of being delayed in awareness.

When a thought arises, if with the thought your awareness is also there – if you can see it arising, if you can see it coming, if you can see it there, if you can see it going – then there is no problem at all. This very seeing, by and by, becomes your citadel. This very awareness brings you many fruits. You can first see, when you see that you are not the thought. Thought is separate from you, you are not identified with it. You are consciousness and it is content. It comes and goes – it is a guest, you are the host. This is the first experience of meditation.

Zen talks about two words: foreign dust. “And this is just where we would begin our training.” Zen says, “For instance, a traveler stops at an inn where he passes the night or takes his meal. And as soon as he has done so, he packs and continues his journey, because he has no time to stay longer. As for the host of the inn, he has nowhere to go.

“The deduction is that the one who does not stay is the guest, and the one who does stay is the host. Therefore, a thing is foreign when it does not stay. Again, in a clear sky when the sun rises and sunlight enters the house through an opening, the dust is seen moving in the ray of light – whereas the empty space is unmoving. Therefore that which is still is voidness, and that which moves is dust. Foreign dust illustrates false thinking and voidness illustrates self-nature – that is, the permanent host who does not follow the guest in the latter’s coming and going.”

This is a great insight. Consciousness is not the content. You are consciousness: thoughts come and go, you are the host. Thoughts are the guests – they come and stay for a while, take a little rest, or their food, or stay overnight, and then they are gone. You are always there. You are always the same, you never change you are eternally there. You are eternity itself.

Watch it. Sometimes you are ill, sometimes you are healthy, sometimes you are depressed, sometimes you are happy. One day you were very very small, a child, then you became young, and then you became old. One day you were strong; one day comes, you become weak. All these things come and go, but your consciousness remains the same. That’s why, if you look inside, you cannot reckon how old you are – because there is no age. If you go inside and look and try to find out there how old you are, there is no age, because there is no time. You are exactly the same as when you were a child or when you were young. You are absolutely the same inside.

For age you have to look at the calendar, at the diary, at your birth certificate – you have to look for something outside. Inside you will not find any age or aging. Inside there is timelessness. You remain the same – whether there is a cloud called depression or the cloud called happiness, you remain the same.

Sometimes there are black clouds in the sky – the sky does not change because of those black clouds. And sometimes there are white clouds also, and the sky does not change because of those white clouds. Clouds come and go, and the sky remains. Clouds come and go, and the sky abides.

You are the sky and thoughts are the clouds. The first thing, if you watch your thoughts minutely, if you don’t miss them, if you look at them directly, will be this understanding – and this is a great understanding This is the beginning of your Buddhahood, this is the beginning of your awakening. You are no more asleep, you are no more identified with the clouds that come and go. Now you know you abide forever.

Suddenly all anxiety disappears. Nothing changes you, nothing will ever change you – so what is the point of being anxious, in anguish? What is the point of being worried? No worry can do anything to you – these things come and go, they are just ripples on the surface. Deep in your depth, not a single ripple ever arises. And you are there, and you are that. You are that being. Zen people call it the state of being a host.

Ordinarily, you have become too much attached with the guests – hence your misery. One guest comes, you become too much attached. And then the guest is packing and is leaving, and then you cry and you weep and you run around and you go with him – at least to see him off, to give him a send-off. And then you come crying and crying – one guest has left and you feel so miserable. And another guest comes and again you fall in with the guest, again you become identified with the guest, and again he is going.

Guests come and go, they don’t stay! They can’t stay, they are not to stay, they are not meant to stay.

Have you watched any thought? It never stays, it cannot stay. Even if you want to make it stay, it cannot stay. Try. That’s what people try sometimes – they try to keep one word in the mind. For example, they want to keep one sound aum in the mind. For a few seconds they remember, and then it is gone, slipped. Again they are thinking of their market, of their wife, of their children…. Suddenly they become aware – where is that aum? It has slipped.

Guests are guests – they have not come to stay there. Once you see that all that happens to you is going to move away from you, then why be worried? Watch: let them be there, let them pack, let them leave. You remain. Can you see the peace that arises if you can feel that you always abide? This is silence. This is an unworried state. This is non-anguish. Suffering ceases the moment identification ceases. Don’t get identified – that’s all. And if you can watch somebody who lives in such eternal timelessness, you will feel a grace, a coolness, a beauty, around him.

It happened – the story is about Buddha, a beautiful story. Listen to it carefully, because you can miss it.

One day, at mealtime, the World Honored One put on his robe, took his bowl and entered the great town of Sravasti to beg for his food. After he had begged from door to door, he returned to his place. When he had taken his meal, he put away his robe and bowl, washed his feet, arranged his seat, and sat down.

Go slowly, as if the film is moving very slowly. It is a Buddha film, and Buddha films move very slowly. Again, let me repeat it…

One day, at mealtime, the World Honored One put on his robe, took his bowl and entered the great town of Sravasti to beg for his food. After he had begged from door to door, he returned to his place. When he had taken his meal, he put away his robe and bowl, washed his feet, arranged his seat, and sat down. 

Visualize Buddha doing all this and then sitting down on his seat.

This shows the Buddha’s ordinary life and daily activities which were similar to those of others and had nothing special about them. There is, however, something which is uncommon, but very few know it.

What is that? What is that uncommon unique quality? – because Buddha is doing ordinary things. Washing his feet, arranging his seat, sitting down, putting away his robe, putting away his bowl, going to bed, coming back – ordinary things everybody is doing.

At the time, one of Buddha’s disciples – a great disciple – Subhuti, who was in the assembly, rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, knelt upon his right knee, respectfully joined the palms of his hands and said to the Buddha: “It is very rare, O World Honored One! It is very rare!”

Now, nothing rare seems to be there on the surface. Buddha coming, putting away his robe, putting away his bowl, arranging his seat, washing his feet, sitting on the seat – there seems to be nothing unusual. And this man, Subhuti….

Subhuti is one of the most insightful disciples of Buddha – all great beautiful stories about Buddha are concerned with Subhuti. This is one of those stories, very rare.

At the time, the elder Subhuti, who was in the assembly, rose from his seat, uncovered his right shoulder, knelt upon his right knee, respectfully joined the palms of his hands and said to the Buddha: “It is very rare, O World Honoured One, it is very rare!

Never seen before, it is unique.

The Tathagata’s daily activities were similar to those of other men but there was here one thing which was different, and those who sat face to face with him did not see it. That day, suddenly Subhuti uncovered it, praised it, and said: “Very rare! Very rare!”

Alas! The Tathagata had been thirty years with his disciples and they still did not know anything about his common acts of daily life. As they did not know, they thought these acts were ordinary and let them pass unnoticed. They thought only that he was similar to others and were, therefore, suspicious of and did not believe what he said. Had Subhuti not seen clearly, no one would really know the Buddha. 

So say the scriptures.

If there was not a Subhuti, nobody would have seen what was happening inside. What was happening inside? Buddha remains the host. Not for a single moment does he lose his eternity, timelessness. Buddha remains meditative. Not for a single moment does he lose his hua t’ou. Buddha remains in his samadhi – even when he is washing his feet, he is washing so alertly, so aware, so consciously. Knowing well that “These feet are not me.” Knowing well that “This bowl is not me.” Knowing well that ’This robe is not me.’ Knowing well that “This hunger is not me.” Knowing well that “All that is around me is not me. I am just a witness, a watcher of it all.”

Hence the grace of Buddha, hence this unworldly beauty of Buddha. He remains cool. This coolness is what meditation is. It has to be attained by being more alert of the host, by being more alert of the guest, by getting disidentified with the guest, by disconnecting yourself from the guest. Thoughts come and go, feelings come and go, dreams come and go, moods come and go, climates change. All that changes is not you.

Is there something that remains unchanging? That’s you. And that is God. And to know it, and to be it, and to be in it, is to attain to samadhi. Dhyana is the method, meditation is the method, samadhi is the goal. Dhyana is the technique to destroy this identification with the guest. And samadhi is dissolving into the host, abiding in the host, getting centered there.

Each night one embraces a buddha while sleeping,

Each morning one gets up again with him.

When rising or sitting, both watch and follow one another.

Whether speaking or not, both are in the same place.

They never even for a moment part,

But are like the body and its shadow.

If you wish to know the Buddha’s whereabouts,

In the sound of your own voice there is he. 

This is a Zen saying: “Each night one embraces a Buddha while sleeping.” The Buddha is always there, the non-Buddha is also there. In you meet the world and nirvana, in you meet God and matter, in you meet the soul and the body. In you meet all the mysteries of existence – you are a meeting-place, you are a cross-roads. On one side the whole world, on the other side the whole of God. And you are just a link between the two.

Now, it is only a question of emphasis. If you go on focusing yourself on the world, you remain in the world. If you start changing your focus, if you shift your focus and you start focusing on consciousness, you are God. Just a small change, as if one changes a gear in the car – just like that.

“Each night one embraces a Buddha while sleeping, each morning one gets up again with him.” He is always there, because consciousness is always there; not for a single moment is it lost.

“When rising or sitting, both watch and follow one another.” The host and the guest, both are there. Guests go on changing, but somebody or other is always there in the inn. It is never empty – unless you become disidentified with the guest. Then an emptiness arises. Then sometimes it happens your inn is empty; there is only the host sitting at ease, not being bothered by any guests. Traffic stops, people don’t come. Those moments are of beatitude; those moments are of great blessing.

“Whether speaking or not, both are in the same place.” When you are speaking, there is also something silent in you. When you are lusting, there is something beyond lust. When you are desiring, there is somebody who is not desiring at all. Watch it, and you will find it. Yes, you are very close, and yet you are very different. You meet, and yet you don’t meet. You meet like water and oil; the separation remains. The host comes very close to the guest. Sometimes they hold hands and hug each other, but still the host is the host and the guest is the guest. The guest is one who will come and go; the guest will go on changing. And the host is one who remains, who abides.

“They never even for a single moment part, but are like the body and its shadow. If you wish to know the Buddha’s whereabouts, in the sound of your own voice there is he.” Don’t go on looking for the Buddha somewhere outside. He resides in you – he resides in you as the host.

Now, how to come to this state of the host? I would like to talk to you about a very ancient technique; this technique will be of tremendous help. To come to this unknowable host, to come to this ultimate mystery of your being, this is the way – one of the very simple ways Buddha has proposed.

Deprive yourself of all possible relationships, and see what you are. Suppose you are not a son to your parents, nor the husband to your wife, nor the father to your children, nor a relative to your kindred, nor a friend to your acquaintances, nor a citizen to your country, and so on and so forth – then you get you-in-yourself.

Just disconnect. Some time once a day, sit silently and disconnect yourself of all connections. Just as you disconnect the phone, disconnect yourself of all connections. Don’t think any more that you are a father to your sons – disconnect. You are no more a father to your son, and you are no more a son to your father. Disconnect that you are a husband or a wife; you are no more a wife, no more a husband. You are no more a boss, no more a servant. You are no more black, no more white. You are no more Indian, no more Chinese, no more German. You are no more young, no more old. Disconnect, go on disconnecting.

A thousand and one connections are there – just go on disconnecting all the connections. When you have disconnected all the connections, then suddenly ask: Who am l? And no answer comes – because you have already disconnected all those answers that would have come.

Who am I? And an answer comes, “I am a doctor” – but you have disconnected with the patients. An answer comes, “I am a professor” – but you have disconnected yourself from your students. An answer comes, “I am Chinese” – but you have disconnected it. An answer comes, “I am a man or a woman” – but you have disconnected it. An answer comes, “I am an old man” – but you have disconnected it.

Disconnect all. Then you are in yourself. Then for the first time the host is alone and there is no guest. It is very good sometimes to be alone without any guest, because then you can see into your hostness more closely, more carefully. The guests create turmoil, the guests create noise, and they come and demand your attention. And they say, “Do this, and hot water is needed, and where is the breakfast? And where is my bed? And there are bed bugs’… and a thousand and one things. And the host starts running after the guest. Yes, of course, you have to take care of these people.

When you are completely disconnected, nobody bothers you – nobody can bother you. Suddenly you are there in all your aloneness – and that purity of aloneness, that pristine purity of aloneness. You are like virgin land, the virgin peak of a Himalaya where nobody has ever traveled. This is what virginity is.

This is what I mean when I say, “Yes, Jesus’ mother was a virgin.” This is what I mean. I don’t agree with Christian theologians – whatsoever they say is all bull. This is what virginity is – Jesus must have been conceived by Mary when she was in such a disconnected state. When you are in such a disconnected state, of course if a child enters he can only be a Jesus, nobody else.

In ancient India there were methods for how to conceive a child. Unless you are tremendously in deep meditation, don’t make love. Let meditation be a preparation for love: that is the whole meaning of tantra. Let meditation be the basis – only then make love. Then you invite greater souls. The deeper you are, the greater soul will be invited.

Mary must have been absolutely disconnected in that moment when Jesus penetrated her. She must have been in this virginity; she must have been a host. She was no more a guest and she was no more clamored at by the guest and no more identified with the guest. She was not the body, she was not the mind, she was not her thoughts, she was not a wife, she was nobody. In this nobodiness she was there, sitting silently – a pure light, a flame without any smoke around it, a smokeless flame. She was virgin.

And I say to you, exactly the same is the case when Buddha is conceived or when Mahavira is conceived, or Krishna is conceived or Nanak is conceived – because these people cannot be conceived in any other way. These people can enter only the most virgin womb. But this is my meaning of being a virgin. It has nothing to do with the foolish ideas that go around – that she never loved a man, that Jesus was not conceived with a man, that Jesus was not the son of Joseph.

That’s why Christians go on saying: “Jesus the son of Mary.” They don’t talk about his father; he was not a father. Son of Mary and son of God – there was no Joseph in-between. But why be so angry about poor Joseph? Why can’t God use Joseph too, if he can use Mary? What is wrong in it? He uses Mary for the womb – that does not spoil the story. Then why not use Joseph too? The womb is half the story, because one egg from the mother has been used. Then why not use another egg from Joseph? Why be so angry at this poor carpenter?

No, God uses both. But the state of consciousness must have been of the host. And really, when you are the host there is no wonder if you receive the greatest guest: Jesus comes in. If you are dis-identified from all the guests, then God becomes your guest. First you become the host, pure host. Then God becomes your guest.

When you are disconnected… you-in-yourself. Now ask yourself: “What is this you-in-yourself’?”  You can never answer this question – it is unanswerable, because it is cut off from all knowable relationships. This way one stumbles upon the unknowable; this is entering into meditation. When you have become settled into it, utterly settled, it becomes samadhi.

-Osho

Excerpt from Zen: The Path of Paradox, V.2, Chapter Three

Copyright© OSHO International Foundation

An MP3 audio file of this discourse can be downloaded from Osho.com, or you can read the entire book online at the Osho Library.

Many of Osho’s books are available online from Amazon.com and in the U.S. from OshoStore-Sedona and Osho Here and Now.

The Question of Meditation – J. Krishnamurti

We are going to discuss the question of meditation; it is a rather complex question and before we go into it, we have to be very clear about this searching, this seeking for experience, trying to find out a reality. We have to understand the meaning of seeking and the searching out of truth, the intellectual groping after something new, which is not of time, which is not brought about by one’s demands, compulsions and despair. Is truth ever to be found by seeking? Is it recognizable when one has found it? If one has, can one say, ‘this is the truth’ – ‘This is the real’? Has search any meaning at all? Most religious people are always talking about seeking truth; and we are asking if truth can ever be sought after. In the idea of seeking, of finding, is there not also the idea of recognition – the idea that if I find something I must be able to recognize it? Does not recognition imply that I have already known it? Is truth ‘recognizable’ – in the sense of its having already been experienced, so that one is able to say, ‘This is it’? So what is the value of seeking at all? Or, if there is no value in it, then is there value only in constant observation, constant listening? – Which is not the same as seeking. When there is constant observation there is no movement of the past. ‘To observe’ implies seeing very clearly; to see very clearly there must be freedom, freedom from resentment, freedom from enmity, from any prejudice or grudge, freedom from all those memories that one has stored up as knowledge, which interfere with seeing. When there is that quality, that kind of freedom with constant observation – not only of the things outside but also inwardly – of what is actually going on, what then is the need of seeking at all? – For it is all there, the fact, the ‘what is’, it is observed. But the moment we want to change ‘what is’ into something else, the process of distortion takes place.

Observing freely, without any distortion, without any evaluation, without any desire for pleasure, in just observing, we see that ‘what is’ undergoes an extraordinary change.

Most of us try to fill our life with knowledge, with entertainment, with spiritual aspirations and beliefs, which, as we observe, have very little value; we want to experience something transcendental, something beyond all worldly things, we want to experience something immense, that has no borders, that has no time. To ‘experience’ something immeasurable one must understand the implications of ‘experience.’ Why do we want ‘experience’ at all?

Please do not accept or deny what the speaker is saying, just examine it. The speaker – let us again be definite about that matter – has no value whatsoever. (It’s like the telephone, you do not obey what the telephone says. The telephone has no authority, but you listen to it.) If you listen with care there is in that, affection, not agreement or disagreement, but a quality of mind that says, “Let’s see what you’re talking about, let us see if it has any value at all, let us see what is true and what is false.” Do not accept or deny, but observe and listen, not only to what is being said, but also to your reactions, to your distortions, as you are listening; see your prejudices, your opinions, your images, your experiences, see how they are going to prevent you from listening.

We are asking: what is the significance of experience? Has it any significance? Can experience wake up a mind that is asleep, that has come to certain conclusions and is held and conditioned by beliefs? Can experience wake it up, shatter all that structure? Can such a mind – so conditioned, so burdened by its own innumerable problems and despairs and sorrows – respond to any challenge? – can it? And if it does respond, must not the response be inadequate and therefore lead to more conflict? Always to seek for wider, deeper, transcendental experience, is a form of escape from the actual reality of ‘what is’, which is ourselves, our own conditioned mind. A mind that is extraordinarily awake, intelligent, free, why should it need, why should it have, any ‘experience’ at all? Light is light, it does not ask for more light. The desire for more ‘experience’ is escape from the actual, the ‘what is’.

If one is free from this everlasting search, free from the demand and the desire to experience something extraordinary, then we can proceed to find out what meditation is. That word – like the words ‘love’, ‘death,’ ‘beauty,’ ‘happiness’ – is so loaded. There are so many schools which teach you how to meditate. But to understand what meditation is, one must lay the foundation of righteous behavior. Without that foundation, meditation is really a form of self-hypnosis; without being free from anger, jealousy, envy, greed, acquisitiveness, hate, competition, the desire for success – all the moral, respectable forms of what is considered righteous – without laying the right foundation, without actually living a daily life free of the distortion of personal fear, anxiety, greed and so on meditation has very little meaning. The laying of that foundation is all-important. So one asks: what is virtue? What is morality?

Please do not say that this question is bourgeois, that is has no meaning in a society which is permissive, which allows anything. We are not concerned with that kind of society; we are concerned with a life completely free from fear, a life which is capable of deep, abiding love. Without that, meditation becomes a deviation; it is like taking a drug – as so many have done – to have an extraordinary experience and yet leading a shoddy little life. Those who take drugs do have some strange experiences, they see perhaps a little more colour, they become perhaps a little more sensitive, and being sensitive, in that chemical state, they do perhaps see things without space between the ‘observer’ and the thing observed; but when the chemical effect is over, they are back to where they were with fear, with boredom, back again in the old routine – so they have to take the drug again.

Unless one lays the foundation of virtue, meditation becomes a trick to control the mind, to make the mind quiet, to force the mind to conform to the pattern of a system that says, “Do these things and you will have great reward.” But such a mind – do what you will with all the methods and the systems that are offered – will remain small, petty, conditioned, and therefore worthless. One has to inquire into what virtue is, what behavior is. Is behavior the result of environ- mental conditioning, of a society, of a culture, in which one has been brought up? – You behave according to that. Is that virtue? Or does virtue lie in freedom from the social morality of greed, envy and all the rest of it? – Which is considered highly respectable. Can virtue be cultivated? – And if it can be cultivated then does it not become a mechanical thing and therefore have no virtue at all? Virtue is something that is living, flowing, that is constantly renewing itself; it cannot possibly be put together in time; it is like suggesting that you can cultivate humility. Can you cultivate humility? It is only the vain man that ‘cultivates’ humility; whatever he may cultivate he will still remain vain. But in seeing very clearly the nature of vanity and pride, in that very seeing there is freedom from that vanity and pride – and in that there is humility.

When this is very clear then we can proceed to find out what meditation is. If one cannot do this very deeply, in a most real and serious way – not just for one or two days then drop it – please do not talk about meditation. Meditation, if you understand what it is, is one of the most extraordinary things; but you cannot possibly understand it unless you have come to the end of seeking, groping, wanting, greedily clutching at something which you consider truth – which is your own projection. You cannot come to it unless you are no longer demanding ‘experience’ at all, but are understanding the confusion in which one lives, the disorder of one’s own life. In the observation of that disorder, order comes – which is not a blueprint. When you have done this – which in itself is meditation – then we can ask, not only what meditation is, but also what meditation is not, because in the denial of that which is false, the truth is.

Any system, any method that teaches you how to meditate is obviously false. One can see why, intellectually, logically, for if you practice something according to a method – however noble, however ancient, however modern, however popular – you are making yourself mechanical, you are doing something over and over again in order to achieve something. In meditation the end is not different from the means. But the method promises you something; it is a means to an end. If the means is mechanical, then the end is also something brought about by the machine; the mechanical minds says, “I’ll get something.” One has to be completely free from all methods, all systems; that is already the beginning of meditation; you are already denying something which is utterly false and meaningless. And again, there are those who practice ‘awareness.’ Can you practice awareness? – If you are ‘practicing’ awareness, then you are all the time being inattentive.

So, be aware of inattention, not practice how to be attentive; if you are aware of your inattention, out of that awareness there is attention, you do not have to practice it. Do please understand this; it is so clear and so simple. You do not have to go to Burma, China, India, places which are romantic but not factual. I remember once travelling in a car, in India, with a group of people.

I was sitting in front with the driver, there were three behind who were talking about awareness, wanting to discuss with me what awareness is. The car was going very fast. A goat was in the road and the driver did not pay much attention and ran over the poor animal. The gentlemen behind were discussing what is awareness; they never knew what had happened! You laugh; but that is what we are all doing, we are intellectually concerned with the idea of awareness, the verbal, dialectical investigation of opinion, yet not actually aware of what is taking place.

There is no practice, only the living thing. And there comes the question: how is thought to be controlled? Thought wanders all over the place; you want to think about something, it is off on something else. They say practice, control; think about a picture, a sentence, or whatever it is, concentrate; thought buzzes off in another direction, so you pull it back and this battle goes on, backward and forward. So one asks: what is the need for control of thought at all and who is the entity that is going to control thought?

Please follow this closely. Unless one understands this real question, one will not be able to see what meditation means. When one says, “I must control thought,” who is the controller, the censor?

Is the censor different from the thing he wants to control, shape or change into a different quality? – are they not both the same? What happens when the ‘thinker’ sees that he is the thought – which he is – that the ‘experiencer’ is the experience? Then what is one to do? Are you following the question? The thinker is the thought and thought wanders off; then the thinker, thinking he is separate, says, ‘I must control it.’ Is the thinker different from the thing called thought? If there is no thought, is there a thinker?

What takes place when the thinker sees he is the thought? What actually takes place when the ‘thinker’ is the thought as the ‘observer’ is the observed? What takes place? In that there is no separation, no division and therefore no conflict therefore thought is no longer to be controlled, shaped; then what takes place? Is there then any wandering of thought at all? Before, there was control of thought, there was concentration of thought, there was the conflict between the ‘thinker’ who wanted to control thought, and thought wandering off. That goes on all the time with all of us.

Then there is the sudden realization that the ‘thinker’ is the thought – a realization, not a verbal statement, but an actuality. Then what takes place? Is there such a thing as thought wandering? It is only when the ‘observer’ is different from thought that he censors it; then he can say, ‘This is right or this is wrong thought,” or “Thought is wandering away I must control it.” But when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, is there a wandering at all? Go into it, sirs, don’t accept it, you will see it for yourself. It is only when there is a resistance that there is conflict; the resistance is created by the thinker who thinks he is separate from the thought; but when the thinker realizes that he is the thought, there is no resistance – which does not mean that thought goes all over the place and does what it likes, on the contrary.

The whole concept of control and concentration undergoes a tremendous change; it becomes attention, something entirely different. If one understands the nature of attention, that attention can be focused, one understands that it is quite different from concentration, which is exclusion. Then you will ask, “Can I do anything without concentration?” “Do I not need concentration in order to do anything?” But can you not do something with attention? – Which is not concentration. ‘Attention’ implies to attend, that is to listen, hear, see, with all the totality of your being, with your body, with your nerves, with your eyes, with your ears, with your mind, with your heart, completely. In that total attention – in which there is no division – you can do anything; and in such attention is no resistance. So then, the next thing is, can the mind in which is included the brain – the brain being conditioned, the brain being the result of thousands of thousands of years of evolution, the brain which is the storehouse of memory – can that become quiet? Because it is only when the total mind is silent, quiet, that there is perception, seeing clearly, with a mind that is not confused.

How can the mind be quiet, be still? I do not know if you have seen for yourself that to look at a beautiful tree, or a cloud full of light and glory, you must look completely, silently, otherwise you are not looking directly at it, you are looking at it with some image of pleasure, or the memory of yesterday, you are not actually looking at it, you are looking at the image rather than at the fact.

So, one asks, can the totality of the mind, the brain included, be completely still? People have asked this question – really very serious people – they have not been able to solve it, they have tried tricks, they have said that the mind can be made still through the repetition of words. Have you ever tried it – repeating “Ave Maria,” or those Sanskrit words that some people bring over from India, mantras – repeating certain- words to make the mind still? It does not matter what word it is, make it rhythmic-Coca Cola, any word – repeat it often and you will see that your mind becomes quiet; but it is a dull mind, it is not a sensitive mind, alert, active, vital, passionate, intense. A dull mind though it may say, “I have had tremendous transcendental experience,” is deceiving itself.

So it is not in the repetition of words, nor in trying to force it; too many tricks have been played upon the mind for it to be quiet; yet one knows deeply within oneself that when the mind is quiet then the whole thing is over, that then there is true perception.

How is the mind, the brain included, to be completely quiet?

Some say breathe properly, take deep breaths, that is, get more oxygen into your blood; a shoddy little mind breathing very deeply, day after day, can be fairly quiet; but it is still what it is, a shoddy little mind. Or practice yoga? – Again, so many things are involved in this. Yoga means skill in action, not merely the practice of certain exercises which are necessary to keep the body healthy, strong, sensitive – which includes eating the right food, not stuffing it with a lot of meat and so on (we won’t go into all that, you are all probably meat eaters). Skill in action demands great sensitivity of the body, a lightness of the body, eating the right food, not what your tongue dictates, or what you are used to. Then what is one to do? Who puts this question? One sees very clearly that our lives are in disorder, inwardly and outwardly; and yet order is necessary, as orderly as mathematical order and that can come about only by observing the disorder, not by trying to conform to the blueprint of what others may consider, or you yourself may consider, order. By seeing, by being aware of the disorder, out of that comes order. One also sees that the mind must be extraordinarily quiet, sensitive, alert, not caught in any habit, physical or psychological; how is that to come about? Who puts this question? Is the question put by the mind that chatters, the mind that has so much knowledge? Has it learned a new thing? – which is, “I can see very clearly only when I am quiet, therefore, I must be quiet.” Then it says, “How am I to be quiet?” Surely such a question is wrong in itself; the moment it asks ‘how’ it is looking for a system, therefore destroying the very thing that is being inquired into, which is: how can the mind be completely still? – Not mechanically, not forced, not compelled to be still. A mind that is not compelled to be still is extraordinarily active, sensitive, alert.

But when you ask ‘how’ then there is the division between the observer and the thing observed.

When you realize that there is no method, no system, that no mantram, no teacher, nothing in the world that is going to help you to be quiet, when you realize the truth that it is only the quiet mind that sees, then the mind becomes extraordinarily quiet. It is like seeing danger and avoiding it; in the same way, seeing that the mind must be completely quiet, it is quiet.

Now the quality of silence matters. A very small mind can be very quiet, it has its little space in which to be quiet; that little space, with its little quietness, is the deadest thing – you know what it is. But a mind that has limitless space and that quietness, that stillness, has no center as the ‘me’, the ‘observer,’ is quite different.

In that silence there is no ‘observer’ at all; that quality of silence has vast space, it is without border and intensely active; the activity of that silence is entirely different from the activity which is self-centered. If the mind has gone that far (and really it is not that far, it is always there if you know how to look), then perhaps that which man has sought throughout the centuries, God, truth, the immeasurable, the nameless, the timeless, is there – without your invitation, it is there. Such a man is blessed, there is truth for him and ecstasy.

Shall we talk this over, ask questions? You might say to me, “What value has all this in daily life? I’ve got to live, go to the office; there is the family, there is the boss, competition – what has all this got to do with it?” Do you not ask that question? If you ask it, then you have not followed all that has been said this morning.

Meditation is not something different from daily life; do not go off into the corner of a room and meditate for ten minutes, then come out of it and be a butcher – both metaphorically and actually.

Meditation is one of the most serious things; you do it all day, in the office, with the family, when you say to somebody, “I love you” when you are considering your children, when you educate them to become soldiers, to kill, to be nationalized, worshipping the flag, educating them to enter into this trap of the modern world; watching all that, realizing your part in it, all that is part of meditation. And when you so meditate you will find in it an extraordinary beauty; you will act rightly at every moment; and if you do not act rightly at a given moment it does not matter, you will pick it up again – you will not waste time in regret. Meditation is part of life, not something different from life.

-J. Krishnamurti

From The Flight of the Eagle, Chapter Three

Living Life Totally vs Witnessing – Osho

I am a little confused. Is there a contradiction between living life totally, and at the same time witnessing it from outside?

I have seen the question. It was too long, so I told someone to summarize it, but in the summary it has lost its basic quest.

The question was that I am teaching witnessing but I also teach you to do it totally. And the problem to the questioner is that if we do it totally, then who will witness it? And if we witness it, at least a part of our consciousness will not be in the action, it will not be total. So he is asking whether we can totally be in the act, or we have to divide ourselves into a witness and into a doer. The question has arisen because you have only thought about it. You have not done anything to experience what I am saying.

First, witnessing is not a doing.

When the mirror reflects you, do you think it does something? It is simply its nature to reflect. There is no action on its part. Even when you are not there it is reflecting. It may be reflecting simply the walls of the room, it may be reflecting anything that is in front of it.

Reflection is not an activity. So it is with witnessing – witnessing is not an activity.

If you think logically, the contradiction will arise. But if you do what I am saying, you can be totally into an act – your body will be in it, your mind will be in it, your heart will be in it, and that is your totality. But there is something beyond these three which is not counted as you, which is not you, which is part of the universal consciousness, which is the divine in you – and that is the mirror.

So when you are witnessing, your mirror is reflecting. You are totally in the act – your body, your mind, your heart – everything is in the act. But there is something more than these three things.

In the East we have called it simply by number. We have not given it a name for a certain reason.

We have called it the fourth, turiya. It is a number, it is not a name. We have not given it a name because any name will create some meaning in your mind, some ideas in your mind; a number cannot do that.

You consist of three elements: the body, the mind, the heart. The fourth is just a silent presence in you – it is not you. Don’t include it within the boundaries of you; it is beyond you. It is capable of reflecting you as totally in the act. And the action will not divide because it is not an action; it is witnessing, it is simply reflecting.

It is one thing to think about it; then immediately the logic, the reason will say that you are doing two things – you are walking and you are witnessing. That divides. But this is only logical reasoning.

Just try to walk silently, joyously – put everything into a morning walk. Your body is relishing the morning sun, the air; your mind is full of the rising life all around you; your heart is throbbing with excitement; the birds are singing and the sky is so colorful… You be just the walk. And you will be surprised that there is someone witnessing which cannot say “I” – which is not your ego, which is the universal self.

Your body is different from mine, your mind is different from everybody else’s, your heart is different from everybody else’s. But in consciousness we are one continent – nobody is an island. That universal consciousness is always there. Either you are aware of it, then it makes your life a rejoicing, or you are unaware of it, then your life becomes just a dragging somehow towards death.

So there is no contradiction at all. But remember, there are many experiences. If you think about them you will find contradictions. If you experience them you will not find any contradiction.

When you ask a question try to experience it not just out of thinking. Ask out of your experience, and then it will be a totally different thing. Everything is not logical, and it is good that everything is not logical. That’s why there is some mystery. That’s why there is some unknowable surrounding you. There is a possibility to discover it, and that discovery is the greatest ecstasy.

I have not found any contradiction in my experience, but in thinking, I agree with you there is contradiction.

But I am not telling you to think about it, I am telling you to live it.

-Osho

From The Sword and the Lotus, Chapter Twelve

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